'INSIDE TIME's REVIEW OF OUR YOI PROJECTS
Outside Chance provides every inmate who attends our workshops - and, on request, lads who are unable to do so, usually due to sentencing restrictions - with an extensive self help Information Pack containing details of jobs, training opportunities, finding accommodation in time for their release and confidence building and support material, referred to throughout our behaviour-challenging sessions.
In each pack, we provide the latest copy of 'Inside Time', the monthly prisons' newspaper. We had noticed, over the 11 years or so during which we have been presenting our workshops, that there was a dearth of letters to 'Inside Time's' Mailbag Page from young offenders in general. Many of the lads we work with are from the texting and e-mailing generation and the thought of writing letters to anyone other than family and friends is often low on their list of priorities. We tend to focus on Inside Time's Mailbag Page in our workshops to highlight the problems being faced by adult inmates in wrestling with officialdom, queries about sentencing, probation, resettlement, home visits, time on remand, etc - all of the obstacles which will, in time, face the young offender if he continues in his 'career in crime', eventually taking him into 'big man's jail' where much of the support available to him as a young man simply falls away.
Stephen Shaw, The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, has also stated that he receives very few letters and complaints from juvenile and young adult inmates and that his own mailbag, pretty much, reflected our own findings. There is also a natural distrust by young inmates as to what might happen to them as a result of their making complaints, either officially through the prison itself or in correspondence with the outside world.
In discussions with 'Inside Time' regarding this subject, they offered to sit in on one of our workshops to see how they might engage with this somewhat difficult to reach group. A feature, outling their views on our somewhat challenging approach, was published in the August 2006 issue of 'Inside Time'. A copy of the article is available on request and will soon be available on our Downloads page.